GOV. JINDAL: Well, it, it’s–no. The $100 million we turned down was temporary federal dollars that would require us to change our unemployment laws. That would’ve actually raised taxes on Louisiana businesses. We as a state would’ve been responsible for paying for those benefits after the federal money disappeared.
MR. GREGORY: All right, but the Democratic senator from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu, says you’re wrong. This is how it was reported in The Times-Picayune Saturday: “Senator Landrieu disputed the governor’s interpretation and said the new unemployment benefits are designed to be temporary. `The bill is an emergency measure designed to provide extra help during these extraordinarily tough times,’ Landrieu said. `To characterize this provision as a “tax increase on Louisiana businesses” is inaccurate.'” Her point being, you could insert a sunset clause when this has to go away, but it would certainly be beneficial at a time when you’re in economic stress.
– With no fanfare and little notice, the national debt has grown by more than $4 trillion during George W. Bush’s presidency.
It’s the biggest increase under any president in U.S history.
On the day President Bush took office, the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion. The latest number from the Treasury Department shows the national debt now stands at more than $9.849 trillion. That’s a 71.9 percent increase on Mr. Bush’s watch.
Friday President Obama said Texans might lose out if Governor Rick Perry does not accept that money.
But as the nation’s Governors meet in Washington this weekend — some — including Perry – said they might turn some of it down.
While he has not outright rejected the stimulus money, Governor Rick Perry questioned whether the nearly $800 billion bill signed into law this week will even help the economy.
It is the same concern Austin resident Vince Hazen has.
“I’m on the principle side that we shouldn’t take the money. I don’t think we need it, and I don’t think that’s the job of the federal government,” said Hazen.
– John Stewart explains this Republican head fake better than most:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Mike: At least this is a sign that the stimulus funds will have some level of oversight:
* WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to announce Monday a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists’ corruption at the Interior Department as his pick to oversee the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
Obama is set to name Earl Devaney as chairman of the new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, an administration official said Sunday. Vice President Joe Biden also will be given a role coordinating oversight of stimulus spending.
Mike: There are some who understand the importance of the stimulus funds:
* Gov. Martin O’Malley announced yesterday that he has canceled plans to lay off 700 state workers and slash millions from local school budgets, saying federal stimulus funds have saved Maryland from some of the most painful belt-tightening decisions proposed in recent weeks.
- Spansion cuts 3,000 employees,
- Micron Tech To Cut 2,000 Jobs
- Companies to notify former workers of COBRA subsidy eligibility
- Unemployment insurance: A guide – Los Angeles Times
- Microsoft seeks refund from some laid off workers
- Microsoft drops payback demand
- Russel Metals to chop staff by 500
- Z Gallerie stores to close – layoff 350
- Neiman Marcus lays off 450
- Microsoft/Google/IBM and other Rumors/News
General Economic News
US and some Canada Layoff News
* SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp has dropped an attempt to recoup some severance money from 25 recently fired workers it mistakenly overpaid.
The Redmond, Washington-based company, which announced a plan to cut up to 5,000 jobs in January, acknowledged on Sunday that it had tried to get the overpaid workers to return the extra money. But late on Monday, it reversed course.
* Microsoft is announcing on Sunday a job training effort aimed at giving technical skills to as many as 2 million Americans over the next three years.
The most significant part of the program, in which Microsoft is offering free certification and other technical training, is being done in a phased approach, starting with Washington state. The second component of “Elevate America,” available online immediately, is a Web site designed to help people with the basics such as creating a resume and send e-mail.
* An accounting error by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has reportedly led the world’s largest software maker to notify some laid off employees last week that they would need to give back part of their severance pay.
The company laid off 1,400 workers last month, the first of 5,000 jobs Microsoft has said it plans to cut over the next 18 months.
The error is believed to have overpaid some former employees and underpaid others. Those that were overpaid were sent letters requesting them to refund the company by sending a check or money order.
* How do we get the subsidies for health-care coverage promised to unemployed workers in the economic stimulus package?
People across the country have been asking that question now that the package has been signed, sealed and delivered.
Although final details still are being hashed out, here’s what I learned from Kelly Traw, an executive at Mercer, a firm that advises companies on employee benefits:
Your former employer is responsible for notifying you of your eligibility for the COBRA subsidy included in the stimulus legislation.
* Wichita’s health care providers say the usual end-of-the-year rush for appointments hasn’t let up.
They’re attributing the continued demand to people who’ve gotten layoff notices and are trying to get medical, vision and dental needs taken care of before they lose their benefits.
Physician Ed Hett, president of Preferred Medical Associates, said the increase in the request for appointments is similar to “the kind of thing we see toward the end of every year, when people have met their deductible and see a new one coming — they try to squeeze in more what I call elective visits” before a new deductible requirement begins.
* Our primer can help you avoid pointless hours on hold and delays in getting the benefits you’re entitled to.
* “We’ve never had waiting lists like this, ever,” said Deborah Weaver, director of community education for Elkhart Community Schools.
David C. Harvey, president of ProLiteracy, a nonprofit literacy organization with 1,200 affiliates, said agencies that help people study for GEDs and other adult education classes are being deluged at a time when many are facing cuts in state funding and dwindling donations.
“This is quickly becoming a national crisis,” he said. “Our programs have gotten hit with less resources, but in turn they have a huge increase in demand for services that they can’t meet.”
*Seven employees in the Canyon County Development Services department were laid off as a result of a dramatic decline in construction and development-related growth.
* BLACKSTONE — The town made an unexpected move to reduce operating costs last week by eliminating two top positions: director of public works and director of parks and recreation.
* NORTH PROVIDENCE –– Mayor Charles A. Lombardi dismissed 20 town workers last night after their unions failed to meet a 7 p.m. deadline for accepting deep cuts in wages and benefits.
In all, 10 municipal workers and 10 public works employees lost their jobs. Lombardi also plans to lay off 30 firefighters following a Superior Court hearing tomorrow.
* Goshen — Bracing for tough economic times, Orange-Ulster BOCES has decided to cut 40 jobs, 20 of them through layoffs as part of efforts to deliver the lowest cost increase in recent memory, officials of the educational service said.
* Micron Technology will lay off as many as 2,000 additional people as demand for DRAM products continues to decline.
Micron plans to phase out 200-millimeter wafer manufacturing operations at its Boise, Idaho, facility. That will initially result in layoffs of 500 employees, but as many as 2,000 people could lose their jobs by the end of Micron’s fiscal year, the company said.
* Micron Technology Inc. (MU) will cut 2,000 jobs as it phases out 200- millimeter DRAM chip manufacturing operations in Boise, Idaho, by the end of its fiscal year in August.
These layoffs are in addition to a 15% reduction, affecting about 2,850 employees, announced last fall as the company stopped production of some NAND flash-memory chips, which are used to store data in iPods, digital cameras and other devices.
* Spansion Inc. said late Monday that it plans to cut its global workforce by roughly 3,000, making it the latest technology company to resort to job cuts in an attempt to grapple with the recession.
* SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Troubled flash memory maker Spansion Inc. said late Monday it will slash its global work force by 35 percent, affecting about 3,000 employees, mostly at manufacturing sites.
The move comes as Spansion, one of the world’s largest makers of flash memory chips used in digital cameras and other gadgets, is cutting costs amid a company-wide restructuring effort and exploring a possible sale.
* CLARKSBURG — Eagle Glass in Clarksburg laid-off workers on Friday.
Company employees said they were not warned about the lay-offs. They were given pink slips after their work day ended on Friday. Representatives at Eagle said the lay-offs may be temporary. They were unable to confirm details or how many people lost their jobs. The company was just bought by the Switzerland based company EuropTec Group at the end of January.
* Murray’s Webasto Roof Systems Inc. plant will close permanently July 15; a victim of sagging national automobile industry.
Andreas Weller, the company’s vice president for business development, said Friday afternoon that the closure was unfortunate, but necessary given economic conditions that have hit the automotive industry hard.
* Also facing a $1.7 million reduction, the College of Education hasn’t been as lucky when it comes to layoffs, according to Dean Andy Horne.
“We’ve had a number of part-time faculty that we’ve had to let go because we can’t afford them,” Horne said in a phone interview Thursday. “The people currently employed full time are staying employed.”
* TORONTO: Nine employees were laid off at Fleishman-Hillard Canada, as part of staff cuts across North America.
* WILLIAMSBURG – Ninety-two full-time employees will be temporarily laid off at Williamsburg Manufacturing, a division of Magna International Inc.’s Cosma operating unit. Those layoffs will take effect March 2, 2009.
* Ninety-five people will lose their jobs as Macy’s closes its location at the Bellevue Center — 19 more than had been expected.
* The Zenith National Insurance Corp. is shedding about 100 jobs, or 6 percent of its work force, but Chairman/CEO Stanley Zax said it should have little impact on the Sarasota operation.
* Christopher & Banks said it would axe 24 positions from its corporate headquarters as part of a broader cost-cutting initiative for 2010.
* A Red Oak, Iowa, window manufacturing company is closing today.
In a press release sent Sunday, the Chicago family that bought the former Traco plant last year cited the economy and labor strife in Chicago as reasons for shuttering the facility and eliminating 100 jobs.
* San Diego-based Pacira Pharmaceuticals, which raised $85 million in venture capital just three months ago, laid off about 40 employees last week.
* Z Gallerie Inc., a home decor retailer based in Gardena, Calif., is pulling out of Ohio and closing its store at Rookwood Commons in Norwood as it cuts its outlets by a third.
A company spokesman told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Z Gallerie, founded in 1979 as a poster shop by three siblings, is closing 25 underperforming stores, consolidating its distribution network and laying off about 350 employees nationwide because of “deteriorating economic conditions.”
* In another sign of the deepening economic chill in Michigan, the Detroit Institute of Arts announced Monday that it will lay off 20 percent of its staff, or about 56 full-time and seven part-time positions.
* Russel Metals (RUS.TO) said on Monday that it plans to cut 500 jobs and reduce the salaries of its top staff by 10 percent as it braces for a steep decline in demand for steel products.
* First Tennessee Bank will cut 250 jobs in the next year, but it’s uncertain how many jobs in the Knoxville region will be eliminated.
* T3 is shrinking its staff once again because of the ailing economy.
This is the advertising agency’s third round of layoffs in the last six months. The agency, which is one of the largest independent agencies in the country, let staff go in October after losing longtime client Marriott. Last month, the agency made small staff cuts when clients scaled back their advertising spending.
* Neiman Marcus Inc. said Monday that it will cut another 450 jobs this week and that salaried employees are taking a pay cut.
The layoffs are companywide “across all divisions and across all levels,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications.
* Royal Bank of Scotland will embark this week on a radical plan to split itself in two as it cuts tens of thousands of staff across the globe and confirms the biggest annual loss in British corporate history.
The split, into elements to be retained and those to be sold, comes as Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RBS, and Eric Daniels, his counterpart at Lloyds Banking Group, go to the Treasury today to agree terms for their banks’ entry into the Government’s insurance scheme for toxic assets.
* The move is expected to result in the loss of about 20,000 jobs, more than half of which will be in the United Kingdom. Large parts of its investment banking business will be designated for sale or close down. Its Asian operations and retail operations across central and eastern Europe will be sold off, the Times reported.
* Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) — Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s largest mobile-phone company, plans to cut hundreds of jobs in the U.K. to reduce costs and protect earnings amid the economic slowdown, two people with direct knowledge of the plan said.
* Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone company, plans to cut hundreds of jobs in the U.K. to reduce costs amid the economic slowdown, Bloomberg reports, citing people with direct knowledge of the plan.
The company could announce the measures Tuesday. The jobs will be eliminated at Vodafone’s U.K. operations, said the people, without giving a precise number.
* CLOSE to 250 workers at a gearbox factory in southern NSW are likely to be made redundant following the company going into receivership.
* Lagardere Active is to cut 250 jobs in Spain, Italy and the United States as part of “exceptional measures” to combat the economic crisis, chief executive Didier Quillot told Le Figaro newspaper.
* Rio Tinto has sacked a further 18 workers at its northern Tasmanian smelter.
* BHP Billiton said today it would reduce the number of employees at its Melbourne head office to about 350 from 600 previously.
* Trinity Mirror is cutting up to 70 journalists, almost a third of editorial staff, from its Glasgow-based Scottish newspapers, including the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, as part of a radical shakeup.
* Merging Brazilian banks Itaú (NYSE: ITU) and Unibanco (NYSE: UBB) plan 100 lay-offs in their investment banking and brokerage operations, they said in a statement.
* SEATTLE – How would you like to work just a few hundred feet from future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr?
The Seattle Mariners are hosting a job fair to fill about 150 positions at Safeco Field for the 2009 season.
* Social-networking player Facebook has begun recruiting for 40 positions in its new operation, which opened its doors in central Dublin. The company has appointed ex-Google sales director Colm Long as head of the Dublin operation.
Mike: More news as the day develops…………….